Thailand stands out in international comparison as a country with a high dispersion of productivity across sectors. It has especially low labor productivity in agriculture—a sector that employs a much larger share of the population than is typical for a country at Thailand’s level of income. This suggests large potential productivity gains from labor reallocation across sectors, but that process—which made a significant contribution to Thailand’s growth in the past—appears to have stalled lately. This paper establishes these facts and applies a simple model to discuss possible explanations. The reasons include a gap between the skills possessed by rural workers and those required in the modern sectors; the government’s price support programs for several agricultural commodities, particularly rice; and the uniform minimum wage. At the same time, agriculture plays a useful social and economic role as the employer of last resort. The paper makes a number of policy recommendations aimed at facilitating structural transformation in the Thai economy.
Using manufacturing and services firm-level data for 30 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, this paper shows that taxation is not a significant driver for the location of foreign firms in SSA, while other investment climate factors, such as infrastructure, human capital, and insitutions, are. By analyzing disaggregate FDI data, the paper establishes that, while there is considerable contrast in behavior between vertical FDI (foreign firms producing for export) and horizontal FDI (foreign firms producing for local markets), taxation is not a key determinant for either type of FDI. Horizontal FDI is attracted to areas with higher trade regulations, highlighting interest in protected markets. Furthermore, horizontal FDI is affected more by financing and human capital constraints, and less by infrastructure and institutional constraints, than is vertical FDI.
This paper analyzes the dynamic interactions between the precision of information, technological development, and welfare within an overlapping generations model. More precise information about idiosyncratic production shocks has ambiguous effects on technological progress and welfare, which depend critically on the risk sharing capacity of the economy's financial system. For example, we show that with efficient risk sharing more precise information adversely affects the equilibrium risk allocation and creates a negative uncertainty-related welfare effect, at the same time as it accelerates technological progress and increases R&D investment.
This paper investigates the effect of timeliness in accessing the intermediate inputs on the
trade pattern. In particular, any country that has a higher ability to transport goods on time
has a comparative advantage in industries that place a higher value on the timely delivery of
their inputs, and this comparative advantage pattern is stronger for processed goods than for
primary goods. To do this, a measure for how intensively any industry demands for the
timely delivery of its intermediate inputs is constructed combining Hummels and Schaur
(2013)’s calculations of the time sensitivity of products with the input-output tables.
Rahul Anand, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Mr. Saurabh Mishra
Structural transformation depends not only on how much countries export but also on what
they export and with whom they trade. This paper breaks new ground in analyzing India’s
exports by the technological content, quality, sophistication, and complexity of the export
basket. We identify five priority areas for policies: (1) reduction of trade costs, at and
behind the border; (2) further liberalization of FDI including through simplification of
regulations and procedures; (3) improving infrastructure including in urban areas to enhance
manufacturing and services in cities; (4) preparing labor resources (skills) and markets
(flexibility) for the technological progress that will shape jobs in the years ahead; and (5)
creating an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to draw the economy
into higher productivity activities.
Export structure is less diversified in low-income countries (LICs) and especially small states that face resource constraints and small economic size. This paper explores the potential linkages between export structure and economic growth and its volatility in LICs and small states, using a range of indices of export concentration differing in the coverage of industries. The empirical analysis finds that export diversification may promote economic growth and reduce economic volatility in these countries. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates that the economic benefits of export diversification differ by country size and income level—there are bigger benefits for relatively larger and poorer countries within the group of LICs and small states.